Rebecca Walker's mother is an African-American woman, while her father is a Jewish American man. However, Walker identifies as black, white, and Jewish.
Rebecca Walker was born as Rebecca Leventhal on November 17, 1969, in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. She is the daughter of Alice Walker, an African-American Pulitzer-prize winning writer whose work includes The Color Purple, and Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, who is Jewish American and a civil rights attorney. Her parents married on March 17, 1967, in New York City. Later that year the couple relocated to Jackson, Mississippi to work in civil rights, becoming “the first legally married inter-racial couple in Mississippi". They were harassed and threatened by whites, including the Klu Klux Klan.
After her parents divorced amicably in 1976, Walker spent her childhood alternating every two years between her father's home in the largely Jewish Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City and her mother's largely African-American environment in San Francisco.
When she was 15, she decided to change her surname from Leventhal to Walker, her mother's surname.