The United Front of Cairo, Illinois was an organization founded in 1969-1970, in response to racist attacks against the black population in Cairo, Illinois. The United Front was founded and led by Reverend Charles Koen. On March 31, 1969, white vigilante groups ("White Hats"), in cooperation with the local police, shot into an all-black housing project for two and a half hours. Although it was not the first attack on the black population in Cairo, it led the impetus to begin an economic boycott against white owned businesses in downtown Cairo. The boycott lasted throughout the 1970s and contributed to the economic hardships that would face the city later, closing many businesses in Cairo. In addition, the organization sponsored rallies, building funds for a new shopping center, and provided support to the black community due to increased economic hardship because of the boycott and from lack of food.