A call for white separatists to rally in Jena, Louisiana, drew about 50 members and supporters of the Nationalist Movement to protest the Martin Luther King Junior holiday and the Jena Six.
About 100 counter-protesters also gathered, including college-aged demonstrators and members of the New Black Panther Party.
At least one person was arrested after about six counter-protesters gathered in a semicircle around a podium where rally organizer Richard Barrett was to speak.
Dozens of police officers forced the counter-demonstrators back before Barrett spoke.
Earlier, counter-demonstrators chanted "No KKK," while separatists responded with chant containing a racial slur.
Race relations in Jena have been tense since the case of the Jena Six, six black teenagers who were arrested in the beating of a white classmate. The case brought about 20,000 marchers to Jena for a peaceful protest in September.