The Founding of the Black Church in America

What was Andrew Bryan’s importance as a plantation preacher and in the Baptist Church?

Andrew Bryan (1737–1812) began to erect the first African Baptist Church building in Savannah, Georgia. The first building built for the purpose of black worship in the city, it was finished in 1794. Bryan was a slave who refused to give up his mission in spite of whippings and imprisonment for preaching. He had formed his church on January 20, 1788. Bryan was born near Charleston, South Carolina, in Goose Creek. Sometime before 1790 Brown purchased his freedom. In 1773 or 1774 he may have come in contact with George Liele, when Liele preached on the Brampton Plantation where Bryan lived last before he became free. Bryan was baptized in 1782 and began preaching about nine months later. He also learned to read around this time. In 1788 a white minister from Georgia, Abraham Marshall, ordained him. Bryan and his supporters preached in cells on plantations, either in the open or clandestinely, depending on the disposition of the plantation owners.


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