As a mill town and early suburb that was for many years the largest town in the county, Laurel has been the site of important county history, including that of African Americans. Today, the Laurel Historical Society will present a lecture about the journey of African Americans in Laurel. Sandra Johnson, a historian for Laurel's St. Mark's Church, will focus on the period after the Civil War; her talk will include education and the role of churches. Listeners are invited to share their stories about the black community. "The African American Journey in Laurel" takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Laurel Pool Club Room, Ninth and Main streets, Laurel. For more information, call 301-725-7975.


Billie Holiday gave one of her final performances in 1959 in a South Philadelphia nightclub, and playwright Lannie Robertson wrote a play to recapture the night. On Saturday at Harmony Hall Regional Center, New Orleans jazz vocalist Troi Bechet will play the legendary jazz singer in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," which tells Holiday's story and features more than a dozen of her well-known songs, including "God Bless the Child," "Strange Fruit," "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone" and "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do." Parental discretion is advised for children under 16 years old. General admission tickets are $15; students and seniors pay $12. Harmony Hall is at 10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington. 301-203-6070.


Gain a new perspective of the Potomac River by partaking in the annual Presidents' Day Shoreline Walk at National Colonial Farm at Piscataway Park on Monday. This guided three-mile hike along the Potomac River will provide hikers with an opportunity to learn more about the river's history and to wade in shallow water and climb over downed trees. Because of the physical challenges of the hike, organizers at the Accokeek park suggest that only those 6 and over participate. The event takes place at 1 p.m., rain or shine, and is free. Adventurers should meet at Marshall Hall in Piscataway Park, 3400 Bryan Point Rd., Accokeek. Transportation to pick up vehicles left at Marshall Hall will be arranged by the Accokeek Foundation on the day of the hike. Call 301-283-2113 for more information.