William Beckwith was born in 1952 in Greenville, Mississippi. Growing up in Mississippi, he began his tutelage under Leon Z. Koury for sculpting. In 1970, Beckwith attended the University of Mississippi, earning a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Sculpture.
From 1976 to 1986, Beckwith owned Vulcan Studios & Foundry, Mississippi's first commercial, fine arts, bronze foundry. His work has been featured across the United States, including the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Beckwith's contribution to the Chickasaw Nation involves one of the ancient tribal members, Piominko. Using only historical documents and advice provided by the Chickasaw Nation, Beckwith created a sculpture of Piominko, which resides in Tupelo, Mississippi. He created the sculpture without any photos to reference.
Beckwith currently teaches sculpture part-time at the University of Mississippi art department. He hopes to see more of the Chickasaw history taught in schools, particularly in Mississippi, the ancestral homeland of the Chickasaws.