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This Day in Georgia History

January 20, 1788

African Baptist Church Established in Savannah

One of America’s oldest black churches was established in Savannah. On this day, white Baptist minister Abraham Marshall and black minister Jesse Peter officially certified the African Baptist Church as the “Ethiopian Church of Jesus Christ.” Marshall and Peter ordained Andrew Bryan, a slave who had been ministering to Savannah blacks (and some whites), as church pastor. Unfortunately, many white slave owners were not happy with the idea of a black church and forbade their slaves to attend.