In May 1957, a tornado cut a significant path through major businesses and neighborhoods of Ruskin Heights. Rated an F5 on the fujita scale, the tornado was the largest of the May 1957 Central Plains tornado outbreak sequence, and is often called the Ruskin Heights tornado. The town has since been rebuilt.

As Kansas City's African-American population expanded, Ruskin Heights became more diversified during the 1970s and saw its first African-American families move into the area.

Today, Ruskin Heights is still a community with active businesses, churches and schools that serve a diverse lower and working-class population. Although not consistent, many of the homes are well-maintained thanks to caring tenants and an active homes association.