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African American Baptists

The earliest all-black congregations in Georgia, all founded in the late eighteenth century, were First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, and Beaverdams Baptist Church in Burke County. Early leaders in the state were David George, George Liele, Jesse Galphin, and Andrew Bryan. However, most African American Baptists in the state before the Civil War were slaves, forced to hold membership in white-dominated

Photograph by Sarah E. McKee, New Georgia Encyclopedia
First African Baptist Church

churches. With the coming of freedom, the Zion Baptist Association (founded in the Savannah area in 1865) was the first African American general body in the state; it was followed, over the years, by about 200 other associations.


A statewide convention was organized in 1870 and is perpetuated to some degree in two existing groups: the large General Missionary Baptist Convention and the smaller New Era Baptist Convention. Black Georgia Baptists were significantly involved in the 1895 formation of the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America, which was organized in Atlanta.

There are now about 2,202 African American churches with about 526,318 members in Georgia. Many are identified with national and state conventions sponsoring missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries.


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