INVESTIGATOR'S NOTE: This biographical information was compiled in 1958.
Ralph Elliot Perch was born on August 14, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois. He is the third of five children of Ezra and Lillian Perch.
Ezra Perch, a factory worker, was a stalwart in the Chicago International Workers of the World (IWW) who served 18 months in jail in 1919-1920 for conspiracy. He died of lung cancer in 1950. Lillian Perch is a housewife in Chicago.
The eldest of the five children, Ezra Jr., is associated with the Teamsters in New York and has reputed ties to that city's organized crime.
Elliot, the middle child, graduated from high school and tried to avoid military service during World War II by claiming conscientious objector status, but eventually served as a clerical worker for an Army support unit in England.
After the war, he began working for United Garment Workers and making no attempt to disguise his anti-business, anti-government beliefs.
He was arrested twice in Illinois in 1949 and once in New York City in 1950, all three for public disturbance and resisting arrest, plus an assault charge in New York. In all instances, union attorneys represented him, and he served no time.
In 1951, at age 26, he became an organizer in the Southeast Region.
Perch arrived in North Mississippi in February 1958 and in Yoknapatawpha County in early March after a few weeks in Tupelo. He has been attempting to organize local garment workers, including the Bowlan Glove Factory workers, for collective bargaining.
Perch is unmarried and has no children.