Donna is still a striking woman now entering her crone years, standing 5’9” tall, with light brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion. She doesn’t dress as flamboyantly she used to as an activist in the 60s, but she still favors dashikis, scarves, beads, etc., with the exception that she keeps her hair short. More than anything else, Donna just likes the low-maintenance of the hair style; but also it also challenges the conservative convention that women should have long hair.
Donna Salem was originally born Donna Holland to Cdr. Martin Holland and his wife, Roberta Holland. Donna was born on 23 January, 1942 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. Throughout her young life, until she finally left for college, Donna led the nomadic life of a “military brat.” Shortly after her birth, her family relocated to Newport News, Virginia, as her father was being assigned to oversee the post-Pearl Harbor commissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Essex, on which he served for the duration of the war, even to it decommissioning in 1947. After that, Donna experienced the typical nomadic life of a US Navy brat.
When she turned 18 in 1960, she got a scholarship to University California Berkeley, to study psychology. She graduated in 1964, and continued on to the graduate program to get her master’s degree, but got sidetracked in the growing social movements. She never did earn her masters, and instead involved herself in anti-war and feminist activism, participating in many protests across the country. She had latched on to Abbey Hoffman’s Yippies for a time, and joined the Festival of Life” protest during the Democratic National Convention of 1968 in Chicago. She even went to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, in 1969; and in 1970, while she was visiting friends in Ohio, went to the protest at Kent State University protesting Nixon’s television address announcing the bombing Cambodia. Things had been going wrong all day, having been driven off the commons by tear-gas fired by police, she and a group of students tried to reassemble at the intersection of Lincoln and Main Streets, holding a sit-in in hopes of getting a meeting with Mayor Satrom and University President Robert White. But by 11:00pm, the National Guard imposed a curfew and started forcing the students back to their dorms. Several students were bayonetted by guardsmen.
While in 1970 she met a fellow activist named Norville Rogers, known to friends as “Shaggy” ever since the show Scooby-Doo first aired in 1969. They never married, but she did become pregnant by him, which eventually led to the birth of her daughter Bethany. After witnessing the bayonetting of students at Kent State, Donna decided to go underground and changed her name to Salem. She moved to New York, and in 1975 fell in with a group of New Agers who first introduced her to “The Craft.” She grew in The Craft for years, having been part of several covens. In 1978 she met the person who would become the “love of her life,” a woman named Deborah Sutton. They consider themselves life partners, and in 1981 together they opened the Visions & Dreams Occult Book Shop in the East Village of Manhattan Island. She currently lives in an apartment above the shop with her partner Deborah, and her young daughter Bethany.