A major critic of Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son" was Aidan Wasley. Wasley wrote an essay on the poem exploring its place in African-American history. He argues that the mother in the poem represents the African-American historical voice.
In his essay "An Overview of 'Mother to Son'," Wasley explores the monologue in relation to Hughes' young age and relationship to African-American culture at the time that he wrote "Mother to Son." He points out various parts of the poem as representing a commentary on the troubled history of African-Americans, as well as offering a message of hope for the future.