Donnie Perry was born in Blakely, Georgia, and attended Decatur High School. After serving in the U.S. Army, Perry received a Master's degree in Public and Urban Administration and graduated from the Atlanta Law School in 1984. He joined the Cobb County Branch of the NAACP between 1986 and 1987. Perry was on the Board of Directors and acted as Legal Advisor before serving as branch President from 1994 to 1997
Interview with Donnie Perry, 2009-10-16, Cobb NAACP/Civil Rights series, 2009-2010, Kennesaw State University Oral History Project, 1973- , KSU/45/05/001, Kennesaw State University Archives.
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