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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood: Downtown
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Address: 23 Montgomery St, Savannah, GA 31401-2429
Phone Number:
+1 912-233-6597
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: Yes

First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the leadership of...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 672 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 512
  • 113
    Very good
  • 26
  • 5
  • 7
Wished we could've stayed for the entire tour, but we will be back!

The church is beautifully preserved; a true testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the members who built it by hand in their spare time! A historic treasure indeed.

Reviewed 3 days ago
Sharon F
Columbus, Ohio, United States
via mobile
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672 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 663: English reviews
Columbus, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

The church is beautifully preserved; a true testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the members who built it by hand in their spare time! A historic treasure indeed.

Thank Sharon F
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

When in town, take the time to stop by and take the tour. It's super affordable. The history behind those walls is mind blowing. It's an all exclusive history lesson on slavery and the Underground Railroad movement. The tour guide, Joey, was super friendly, funny and knowledgeable. The church itself is amazing to look at and walk around in. The... More 

Thank livenlearn84
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Just know this church is still standing is amazing. Knowing it was built by slaves on their off time from working for the master is amazing. This is a must see and to learn the meaning of the doors being red and the color of the walls and what that meant to the slaves and what it means now to... More 

1 Thank dedemarie991
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Our first visit to this famous church was when we joined a talk and tour conducted by one of the Church's Pastors. The talk included a detailed history of the Church and the leaders that had developed the Church. It was very interesting to hear of the part played by the Church in the Underground Railroad, assisting escaped slaves on... More 

1 Thank LondonVsW
Waupaca, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
44 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 week ago

What a historical church to visit and tour. A must see if anyone is interested in American history. Our tour lady was a walking history book.

Thank sandynielson914
Level Contributor
62 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

We weren't sure what to expect when we stopped at this church but we thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Miss Karen was the presenter and she was an absolute wealth of knowledge and a very talented teller of stories. Very much worth the stop.

Thank 1horselover
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Great guide. There is a lot to do in Savannah, but this is a must. Only 75 minutes and you receive a great history lesson and a tour of a historical church.

Thank john593
1 review
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Our tour guide did an excellent job, and we learned so much about at the history of the church. It is well worth the time, and I'm so glad we could fit it in. I wish the tourist information, or the trolley drivers, would let people know that the church is only open for tours a limited time during the... More 

Thank MankatoBeachlover
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We went here as part of the Freedom Trail History Tour. Our guide told some great stories of the history of African-Americans in Savannah.

Thank Kathy P
2 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Th tour guide was very knowledgeable, informative and charismatic! The history of the church was a real gem.

Thank Stephanie J

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Huntersville, North Carolina
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