Between 1941 and 1945, as the U.S. military machine sent millions of Americans——and American culture——around the world, several thousand African Americans spent time in Australia. Armed with little knowledge of Australian racial values and practices, black Americans encoutered a nation whose long-standing commitment to the principle of "White Australia" appeared to rest comfortably with the segregative policies commonly associated with the American South. Nonetheless, while African Americans did encounter racism and discrimination——practices often encouraged by the white Americans who were also stationed in Australia during the war——there is compelling evidence that their experiences were not always negative. Indeed, for many black Americans, Australians' apparent open-mindedness and racial views of white Britons and others with whom African Americans came into contact during the war. Making use of U.S. Army censors' reports and paying attention to black Americans' views of their experiences in Australia, this article not only casts light on an aspect of American-Australian relations that has hitherto recieved scant scholarly attention and reveals something about the African American experience, but also offers insights into race relations within the U.S. armed forces.
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