Duke Ellington's autobiography.
His account of growing up in Washington D.C. is like eating the most perfectly ripe and flavor-stuffed peach.
"Love you madly," in many languages, was how the Duke concluded his performances. You can believe he meant those words because he was one of the blessed among men, beginning with the perfect upbringing, childhood an youth.
"So I was pampered and pampered, and spoiled rotten by all the women in the family, aunts and cousins, but my mother never took her eyes off precious little me, her jewel, until I was four years old ...."
I've become increasingly interested in Washington D.C. since spending time there while living on the Eastern Shore. This is a good introduction to that era that hosted the three cities that contained, even long before the Civil War, the largest populations of skilled, prosperous free people of color: New Orleans, Baltimore and D.C.