Avis, I get your point, & your analogy with Afro-Latin music, too. Perhaps being outside what was regarded as "proper music" gave black musicians the freedom to develop what is regarded as the only true American art form, jazz.

But, I have to ask, aren't we comparing apples & oranges here, esthetics vs. sources of information?

Most urban & folk legends don't derive from intentional propaganda, but from stories told, handed down, oral traditions that alter just a little bit each time they're told.

As I wrote, I don't have an opinion re the alligator bait story. I just know from experience that stories passed down through generations aren't always true.

LA born & raised, now I live upstate. I hate snow. I write on healthcare, politics & history. Hobbies are woodworking & singing Xmas carols with nonsense lyrics