map

First African Baptist Church

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

23 Montgomery St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit the First African Baptist Church in Savannah on a weekday evening to catch a rehearsal of their renowned gospel choir; it's a less crowded time, and you might be treated to an impromptu performance. Additionally, be sure to ask about the symbols etched into the church's wooden pews; they have a hidden meaning that dates back to the era of the Underground Railroad."

What is First African Baptist Church?

First African Baptist Church is not just a place of worship; it's a significant beacon of history nestled in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. This church isn't only notable for its beautiful architecture and vibrant congregation—it's also famed for being one of the oldest African American churches in the United States. It stands as a testament to faith, resilience, and the unyielding spirit of a community in the face of adversity.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
Boston Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

So, you’ve booked a trip to the one and only ‘Beantown’, woohoo! Want to experience the best this incredible city has to offer without having ...

US$699/pp Learn more

The church is situated at 23 Montgomery Street, in the historic district of Savannah, and has been a cornerstone for the African American community since the 18th century. It may appear to be a regular church at first glance, but once you delve into its past and explore its walls, you'll find stories etched into every corner that speak volumes about the endurance and courage of its congregants throughout history.

History of First African Baptist Church

The roots of First African Baptist Church stretch deep into the early history of Georgia. Established in 1773, it was founded by Reverend George Leile, who is believed to be the first African American ordained Baptist preacher in the United States. The church began with a congregation made up predominantly of enslaved and free African Americans. They initially gathered in secret amidst the horrors of slavery, seeking solace in their faith and community.

The present building, where the church currently stands, was constructed in the 1850s. However, its connection to the underground railroad is what piques the interest of many. Some of the floorboards are said to have holes in the shape of an African prayer symbol--these holes also served as air holes for those seeking freedom through the underground network that the church was a part of. Indeed, her walls have witnessed stories of sorrow and joy, oppression and liberation—each member leaving a legacy behind.

Remarkably, throughout its long history, First African Baptist Church has maintained an unbroken line of African American pastoral leadership, which is rare and speaks to the strength of its community. As you walk through the church, you not only see but feel the imprint of each passing generation on its very fabric.

Our Top Trending United States Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Foodie Tour: Windy City Favs

    US$239/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Historic Pullman Company Town Private Walking Tour

    US$189/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Instagram Walking Tour

    US$199/pp Learn more

Why is First African Baptist Church Important?

The importance of the First African Baptist Church lies in its role as an emblem of hope and endurance. It's a symbolic reminder of the fight for social justice and equality—a living monument that captures the essence of African American history, struggle, and perseverance. The church's role in aiding those escaping from slavery and the continued contributions to civil rights movements solidify its importance in American history.

For locals and visitors alike, the church serves as an educational experience that illuminates aspects of history that textbooks often fail to capture. It is important not for its longevity alone but for the active role it has played in shaping the community's social fabric. Its bricks and mortar hold stories of leadership, advocacy, and unwavering faith that have continued to inspire and impact lives generation after generation.

It's a living museum, where every visit enriches one's understanding of the African American experience. It's a vital thread in the cultural tapestry of Savannah and indeed, of the nation. It represents the undying spirit of a community that has strived—and continues to strive—for a better tomorrow.

Things to Do & See at First African Baptist Church

Stepping inside First African Baptist Church, you'll soon discover that it's more than a place of worship—it's a journey through time. Visitors can take guided tours that reveal the church's intricate history and explore areas like the original wooden pews marked with the year 1859, which bear silent testimony to countless services and gatherings.

You can observe the beautiful stained glass windows that not only add to the aesthetic appeal but also tell their own story of faith and community. And don't skip the upper floor—here, you'll find the original gallery pews, designed for enslaved worshipers, with a view that provides a unique perspective on the church's inclusive past.

Perhaps the most poignant feature is the hidden spaces that one believes played a pivotal role in the underground railroad. Tour guides might even tap the floorboards to demonstrate the hollow spaces below where freedom seekers were once hidden. It's an emotional and powerful reminder of the church's role in American history. Beyond the structure itself, visitors should also take the time to engage with the local congregation; their insights and testimonies add a profound depth to the historical narrative of the church.

Frequently asked questions

What is the First African Baptist Church?

The First African Baptist Church is one of the oldest African-American churches in North America and is located in Savannah, Georgia. It has a rich history tied to the African-American community and played a crucial role in the civil rights movement.

How old is the First African Baptist Church in Savannah?

The First African Baptist Church was established in 1777, making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, black churches in North America.

What are the unique features of the First African Baptist Church?

The church is known for its beautiful interior, which includes original pews marked with the year 1859, and a ceiling designed to look like the 'Nine Patch Quilt' which signified that the church was a safe house for slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Can visitors take a tour of the First African Baptist Church?

Yes, visitors can take a tour of the First African Baptist Church. The tours usually include detailed history of the church and its significance in African-American culture.

Is the First African Baptist Church active today?

Yes, the First African Baptist Church is still an active congregation holding regular worship services and plays an active role in the local community.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

23 Montgomery St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps