Ruth's parents are natives of Jamiaca and Atlanta, Georgia.
Ruth Beckford was born on December 7, 1925, in Oakland, California, United States. She was the youngest of four children of Cora and Felix Beckford, including one sister and twin brothers. Beckford's parents are natives of Jamaica and Atlanta, Georgia. Both Ruth's parents were active in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, her father served as a secretary of the U.N.I.A. Oakland Branch and her mother worked as a Black Cross nurse. Ruth's extended family supported her training in dance including tap, acrobatics, and ballet as well as music lessons. Miss Beckford performed professionally as a child in vaudeville acts, with her brother and solo, onstage in competition at movie-houses and also at social settings such as Sunday teas and other community events.