Scope and Contents
In this oral history Meredith Tax describes her childhood in a Midwestern Jewish family in the post-World War II period and her life as a young woman at Brandeis University in the early 1960s. The interview focuses on her activism as a Marxist and a feminist and on her struggles to sustain herself personally and financially while maintaining a commitment to her political ideals. Tax's story documents the impact of feminist ideas and activities on both radical political organizations such as the October League and mainstream organizations such as the PEN American Center and International PEN. It also illustrates the variety of ways that feminism has survived beyond the second wave in contexts outside of the academy. (Transcript 105 pp.)
Note: Tax's husband's name is misspelled in the transcript. His name is Jon rather than John.
Biographical / Historical
Meredith Tax (b. 1942) grew up in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area, graduated from Brandeis University in 1964, and studied seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English literature at the University of London as a Fulbright Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from 1964 to 1968. Tax got involved in radical politics in London in the late 1960s and went on to participate in the founding of several groups: Bread and Roses in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1969; the October League, a Marxist group in Chicago in the early 1970s; the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA) in New York City in 1977; and Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2) in 1979. Tax is also a well-known feminist writer. Her best-known works are the nonfiction The Rising of the Women (1980) and novels Rivington Street (1982) and Union Square (1988). Since 1986 Tax has combined her roles as activist and writer through her work with the Women's Committee of the PEN American Center, the International PEN Women Writers' Committee, and as the founder and president/CEO of Women's World Organization for Rights, Literature and Development (Women's WORLD).