Informed by early African American and African accounts, the mermaid figure in Robert San Souci and Brian Pinkney’s Sukey and the Mermaid (1992) speaks to issues of enslavement and liberation, particularly in the ways the character can be read as evocatively depicting African nature spirits known as simbi. I further argue that the image of the black merfigure ultimately comments on the Middle Passage by repositioning the relationship of the black body and the ocean, the merfigure subverting confinement and death to become her/his own vessel. Such exploration places this book within larger discussions of merfigures in diverse cultural frameworks.
Connolly, Paula T.. "Breaking the Surface: Mermaids and the Middle Passage." Marvels & Tales 35.1 (2021). Web. <https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol35/iss1/5>.