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“Well worth the time!”

First African Baptist Church
Ranked #10 of 220 things to do in Savannah
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the leadership of Reverend George Leile and established and constituted in December of 1777 as a body organized believers. Under the leadership of the 3rd Pastor Reverend Andrew C. Marshall, the congregation obtained the property where the present sanctuary stands. Marshall also organized the first black Sunday school in North America and changed the name of the church from “First Colored Baptist” to “First African Baptist”. The sanctuary was completed in 1859 under the direction of the 4th Pastor Reverend William J. Campbell. The ceiling of the church is in the design of a “Nine Patch Quilt” which represented that the church was a safe house for slaves. Beneath the lower auditorium floor is another finished sub floor which is known as the “Underground Railroad”. There is 4ft of height between both floors. The holes in the floor are in the shape of an African prayer symbol known as a Congolese Cosmogram that served a purpose of ventilation. First African Baptist Church has been a place of leadership and service since its inception. Reverend Emmanuel King Love, 6th Pastor, led the movement to establish Savannah State University, formerly known as Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth. Rev. Love also played a big role in the establishment of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and Paine College in Augusta, GA. During the time of segregation the church served as the largest gathering place for blacks and whites to meet. Visitors from all walks of life have visited out sanctuary and left inspired. TOUR RATES: Adults = $7.00; Seniors = $6.00; Students = $6.00; Children Ages 5 & Under = FREE. TOUR HOURS OF OPERATION: Tuesday - Saturday = 11:00 a.m. & 2:00p.m. Sunday = 1:00p.m.
Reviewed September 27, 2009

My husband and I took this tour last weekend and found it to be well worth the time and the $5.00 admission fee. The tour guide was very friendly and informative. The tour lasted about an hour and a half and was chalked full of historical information. We recommend it for anyone interested in American history and the Underground Railroad.

2  Thank LoveBug41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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787 - 791 of 806 reviews

Reviewed July 28, 2009

I had went to this chruch 9 years ago, on a group trip in high school. This go around, I was with family, and we very much enjoyed ourselves, the speaker was great, she really knew her history. Words really cant describe the experience, it is really the first African Baptist Chruch. It's Great American History, not just Black History, of the mind set of our country at the time. It's a great experience for all families, no matter what race you are. It's free too. Loved it, when I have children would love to bring them here.

2  Thank Sunny2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2009

This was our most enjoyable tour during our time in Savannah. Our guide Joseph was fantastic as well as entertaining. He led us through all aspects of the church. He explained the history as well as how the church functions today. My husband and I both felt this was the best tour. There was no fee, but at the end of the tour you may make donations to the building fund. The location is next to City Market, so very convenient as well.

1  Thank beachcomber87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2009

One of the best tours we had while we were in Savannah. We happened to be checking out the outside of the Church when we realized that a tour was about to take place (Usually at 10AM and 2PM). The tour hostess was very informative about the history of the Church and told us many stories regarding the Pastors and the slaves who helped built it. There was a collection of handwritten documents, photos regarding the people who worshipped there and how the Church helped those in need. Our tour hostess gave us information about the underground railroad and showed us the “tribal” symbols used to let others know that a particular place was a safe haven. Truly a unique experience and the best part was while we were walking around the historic district my daughter spotted the symbol used during the underground railroad on the side of a brick house.

Thank DoriM821
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2008

Visited this site with Johnnie's Freedom Trail Black Heritage Tour (which is phenomenal) and was overwhelmed at all the history in this church.

2  Thank breathtaking52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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