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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood: Downtown
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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
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 619 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 470
  • 102
    Very good
  • 26
  • 5
  • 7
A Good History Lesson

It was interesting to learn about the church and the roll it played in the city of Savannah and it's slave history. The church is is subdued compared to many others we've visited... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 days ago
Regina, Canada
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619 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 610: English reviews
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
126 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

It was interesting to learn about the church and the roll it played in the city of Savannah and it's slave history. The church is is subdued compared to many others we've visited. The guide had many stories and congregation appeared to spend their money helping others rather than on statues.

Thank Louise100_10
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Super interesting tour- learned a ton about history of this church and Savannah in general. Great way to spend $7.

Thank yanquiloca
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

It was a beautiful church, the stained glass pictures of the african american civil rights leaders was beautiful. It was something to be walking right above the underground railroad!

Thank 822bostonstrong
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
63 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

At the oldest black Baptist church in North America, our group was greeted with such hospitality. And the embracing mood continued through all the prayers, hymns and sermon. Definitely worth the two-three hours on a Sunday morning. Tours of the church are available during the week.

Thank jetjersey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Wow! What a privilege to see this beautiful church built by so many hands. Our guide was awesome and so very knowledgable. Definately should be your short list of places to visit on Savannah.

Thank Bomaxho
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Our tour guide, Joe, was excellent, super conversational, and was only on his third week as tour guide. He really made this one of the best and most informative and interesting guided tours of my 4 days in the city. Hope to come back when they've finished stripping the stucco off the brick exterior. Should look great.

Thank sambwe
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
422 reviews
223 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 359 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

The history of this church is well documented but attending the service was a very special experience as a traveling guest. The African American community has much to fear following the presidential election. Sharing the shock of the results with others was very special and healing. The congregation is so warm and welcoming, a religious experience like I have never... More 

Thank ZZMimi
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My wife and I enjoyed everything that the church had to offer. It's a great learning experience of what the church had to offer, plus it was a route for the underground railroad.

Thank Gavin B
Waco, Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We wanted to tour this church at their 11:00 tour time. A school bus was there and I hoped we wouldn't be with them. Well, we were. We joined 50 5th graders and it was outstanding. It truly was the highlight of our Savannah trip. Our tour guide was a volunteer from the congregation and his history knowledge was fascinating.... More 

Thank Vicki G
Orange, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 November 2016

You gotta see this place! The history is amazing. If you enjoy learning the history of Savannah, this is a must see.

Thank Martyandjim

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